Ten years ago, my friend Nikki shared this recipe with me. She described these sweet potatoes as a sweet potato mash, but with a twist - they get creaminess from a generous splash of coconut milk, crunch from toasted coconut and macadamias, and a kick from freshly grated ginger. For those of you who have been long-time readers, this is the same Nikki who took my site by storm when I posted her Healthy Cookie recipe forever ago. The same Nikki I've been friends with since she showed up in my sixth grade class, fresh from Los Angeles, wearing a Swatch watch and white Reebok hi-tops. Both things I'd never seen before. I know a good number of you love this recipe, so I popped off a few fresh photos the other day. The only tweaks I made to the recipe - baking the sweet potatoes without foil, and suggesting an (optional) finishing drizzle of lemon olive oil. It's a nice counterpoint to the sweetness of the sweet potatoes. Enjoy the sweet potatoes! Miss you Nik!
I think she hit the nail on the head when she told me she paired it with lots of garlicky, sautéed greens. It's the perfect Thanksgiving side dish, but also an A+ option outside of the holiday as well.
Nikki's Sweet Potato Recipe
If you'd like to prepare part of this recipe in advance you can certainly bake the sweet potatoes a day or two in advance and save the mashed sweet potatoes in the refrigerator until you are ready to move forward with the remaining steps. Also, you can make these vegan by using olive oil and not butter.
2 1/2 pounds orange-fleshed sweet potatoes
1/3 cup coconut milk or non-dairy milk
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
1 tablespoon maple syrup, (optional)
1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
1/3 cup raw, unsweetened grated coconut
2 tablespoons olive oil or melted butter
1/3 cup toasted macadamia nuts, chopped
to serve (optional): lemon zest, lemon olive oil
Preheat your oven to 400F degrees, a rack in the upper third. Butter or oil 6 ramekins or a single medium-sized casserole dish.
Scrub each potato, rub with a bit of salt, and place directly in the oven for somewhere between an hour and an hour and a half, until each is baked through. Times vary greatly depending on the size of your sweet potatoes - in the end you should be able to cut through the center flesh as if it were soft butter. Remove the potatoes from the oven, let them cool for a few minutes, and cut each sweet potato in half. Scrape the flesh into a medium mixing bowl. You should have about three cups of sweet potatoes. Mash the sweet potatoes with the coconut milk. If your sweet potatoes are on the fibrous side, take a hand blender, puree them for a minute or so (alternately you could use a food processor). Stir in the ginger, maple syrup and salt. Let it sit for a few minutes, stir again and taste - adjust the seasoning if you need to - this is your chance to get the right amount of salt and ginger in the sweet potatoes before they go in the oven.
Spoon the sweet potato mixture into individual baking dishes (or single larger baking dish), sprinkle with coconut, drizzle with olive oil and bake uncovered until warm and the coconut golden roughly 25 - 35 minutes. Remove and sprinkle with the toasted macadamia nuts.
Serves about 6.
Prep time: 5 minutes - Cook time: 120 minutes